Archive for A Blaze of Glory

150 Years After Vicksburg

Posted in Fiction, New release, Reading List with tags , , , on July 29, 2013 by jaclemens

Chain of ThunderI received this from First Reads, but I had to read the first book, A Blaze of Glory, before I could read this one. That meant I read it in July rather than May, but, as July 4th marked the 150th anniversary of the events described herein, the timing was salient. This series on the Western Theater is wonderful for the moderate Civil War buff, and I’ve learned plenty about the Battle of Shiloh and the Siege of Vicksburg. I found the second book carried the greater impact, particularly as Shaara made a civilian one of the point of view characters. Going behind the fortifications to show the deprivations inflicted on the people and the horrors of the field hospitals really brings the suffering home, even if young Lucy Spence never returned to her battle-damaged domicile.



Posted in Fiction, Reading List, Young Adult with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2013 by jaclemens

Appointment in SamarraBacklog may be the more accurate term, as I failed to blog the past two months, but I have been brushing up on my backlist. The Marriott Library had a sale in April, and I managed to pick up paperback copies of two books already on my list: A Separate Peace by John Knowles and How to Be Good by Nick Hornby. The first is a book I should have read ages ago. My grandfather also went straight from high school into the war. It was the only option. Now I have a better grasp of what that would have been like for him and his older brother. As for the second, the best I can say is the cameo appearance was brilliant!

While I wasn’t blogging about those books I was playing the game Infinity Blade, so I downloaded the story Infinity Blade: Awakening by Brandon Sanderson. I don’t read many adaptation stories, but I’ll read just about anything by Sanderson. I also dipped into Partials, the first book of a series by Dan Wells, one of Sanderson’s cohorts on the Writing Excuses podcast. I’ll be starting Fragments, the second book, this weekend. I’m also working my way through A Blaze of Glory by Jeff Shaara in preparation for the next one, A Chain of Thunder.

But the pinnacle of my backlist reading has to be Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara. I received one of the new Penguin Deluxe Classic Editions of O’Hara’s quintessential first novel, which went on sale at the end of April. I read the majority of it in an appropriately opulent location, a salon outside the Grand Ballroom of the Grand America Hotel. I was there to sell books for the Congress for the New Urbanism, and one of the Congress members commented on the rarity of seeing anyone reading this classic work in the current day. O’Hara’s style of writing feels anachronistic, but the man wrote one hell of a backstory! One might think my blog has had an Appointment in Samarra (a phrase that has likewise fallen from our vernacular), but I have a great many new releases to review this summer!